By Joe Haggerty
OTTAWA It took a long time -- they first began discussing this deal in 2009 -- but Tomas Kaberle will finally be wearing Black and Gold.The four-time All-Star defenseman and among the best NHL power play specialists of the post-lockout era with the third-most power play assists (157) in the NHL over the last six seasons behind Joe Thornton and Sidney Crosby is on his way to Boston after the B's agreed to send former first-round pick Joe Colborne, Bostons 2011 first-round pick, and a conditional pick to the Leafs.
The conditional pick is a second-rounder in 2012, and the Leafs will receive the pick if the Bruins re-sign Kaberle or if they reach the Stanley Cup finals.
The team announced the trade Tuesday afternoon. Kaberle will be in the lineup for the Bruins Friday night in Ottawa, as will Chris Kelly, whom they acquired from the Senators earlier this week.
Nick Kypreos, an ex-NHL player who now works as an analyst for Rogers SportsNet in Canada, reported on Twitter that Kaberle told him "It was just time to move on" and that he's "excited at the chance to go to Boston."In a related move, the Bruins traded Blake Wheeler and Mark Stuart to Atlanta. Center Rich Peverley, one of the players acquired from the Thrashers, will join the team Sunday; the other player, defenseman Boris Valabik, is being assigned to the Providence Bruins.
The Bruins had been trying to entice Brian Burke with 6-foot-5 winger Blake Wheeler or former first round pick Zach Hamill, but the Leafs GM zeroed in on the 6-foot-6 former University of Denver pivot Joe Colborne. In essence the Leafs get a player very similar in skill and size to Wheeler, but whom they'll be able to control at an affordable price for the next few years while filling Burkes desire for a big center in the middle of Torontos attack.It seems like a long way from the first aborted Phil KesselKaberle trade back at the 2009 draft in Montreal, but finally the Bs got their defenseman with a team holding many pieces for an extended playoff run. Kaberle is expected to be in uniform and with the team for Friday night's game against the Senators in Ottawa after skating for an hour at practice with the Maple Leafs on Friday morning.TSN's Bob McKenzie was the first to report the entire Bruins package accuratelyfor Kaberle on Friday morning.